Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier is honoring Special Olympics athletes, emergency response members and volunteers this Thursday by giving them free tickets for unlimited rides throughout the amusement park.

In addition, the world-famous Ferris wheel will feature the colors of the Special Olympics daily at sunset throughout the games, being held June 11 and 12 at Cal State Long Beach, said Cameron Andrews, spokesman for the park.

The official Pacific Park emergency response members’ “Thank You” appreciation party will provide each member that presents their badge or acceptable identification with up to four free tickets for unlimited rides throughout Pacific Park. All other guests may purchase an unlimited ride pass for $10, which is a nearly 50 percent savings. Pacific Park will donate the net proceeds to the Special Olympics.

“The Special Olympics Southern California organization and emergency responders represent the core values and commitments that Pacific Park strives for as a company and community participant,” said Jeff Klocke, director of marketing and sales at Pacific Park. “It’s a unique opportunity for us to work with the multi-talented athletes and the hundreds of volunteers that make up the Special Olympics family.”

Throughout this year’s Summer Games, Pacific Park will also host a booth to distribute up to 2,000 unlimited ride passes to participating coaches as an official “Thank You” for their time and commitment.

“Our partnership with Pacific Park exceeds all possibilities imagined when we first discussed how our organizations could work together,” said Bill Shumard, president and CEO of Special Olympics Southern California. “The creative use of their iconic Ferris wheel to highlight their support of Special Olympics is awesome. Pacific Park ‘dreams big’ and their support enables individuals with intellectual disabilities to surpass their dreams as athletes at the Summer Games.”

Athletes and volunteers travel from all over Southern California to participate in the annual Summer Games, which is the largest Special Olympics Southern California sports competition of the year with more than 1,100 athletes competing in aquatics, athletics (track & field), basketball, bocce, golf, and gymnastics.

An expected 6,000 people will attend the games throughout the weekend. For more information about the Summer Games, visit sosc.org/summergames.

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